OUtside Sewer Repair Protection

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Old 05-05-14, 05:00 AM
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OUtside Sewer Repair Protection

My utility company offers an outside line sewer and water line repair protection for 10.95 extra month. It covers up to 12 grand worth of repair of the outside sewer and water service lines.

The piping is likely in the 50 year old range on my property. We are responsible for anything up to the street.

Is that a good investment do you think?
How much typically would outside repairs cost? I am assuming very expensive?
 
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Old 05-05-14, 07:02 AM
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Like any insurance, it's a waste of money unless you need it.

When I lived in NJ, I paid the $5/mo for water line protection since the area had issues with pinhole leaks. I never thought sewer protection was worth it since it can be pretty easily dug and replaced if needed. Granted, now I'm going through a sewer issue...

It's probably not a bad deal, it's peace of mind for $130/yr. But I would only go with either the utility company (as you mentioned) or a homeowner's rider. There are 3rd party companies that do it that may be good or may be bad - but I would stay far away from. Also realize what is covered and what isn't. Usually the repair is, but any re-landscaping is not.
 
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Old 05-05-14, 07:11 AM
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What about your homeowner's insurance? See if that covers it first. If it doesn't ask how much it costs to add it, to your policy. I was also want to know what insurance company the utility company is using or is it a "self insured" thing by them.
 
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Old 05-05-14, 09:38 AM
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Ordinarily I would say "no" I would not recommend insurance like that but with 50 year old lines it's something to seriously consider. I would be curious to know how they make the determination when a repair or replacement is needed. Does a crack or hole allowing tree roots to intrude constitute them digging and performing a proper repair or will they just call it a clog and say you pay to have the line cleared?
 
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Old 05-06-14, 08:31 AM
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HO ins. doesn't cover repair of the sewer. They don't offer coverage for repair like this either.

The sewer/drain coverage is like 4 grand for repair of sewer, 4 grand for repair of water line from street to house and 500 bucks for landscaping. 10.95 a month tacked on to the utility bill each month. Its an old house too, 60 years and I just moved in so I have no idea of the history of backups, what if anything has been replaced etc.


To dig up 50-100' of sewer and replace with PVC would cost more than 4 grand no?
 
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Old 05-06-14, 09:22 AM
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Around here it would be about $1'500 without any landscape repair. Call to have utilities marked and get a permit. A good portion of the money & time time is loading, unloading & transport of the backhoe or excavator. An hour of digging. An hour or two to lay and connect the pipe. The bulk of the work would be done in half a day. Then return after it's approved and back fill.
 
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Old 05-06-14, 11:52 AM
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Cheaper than I thought for sure.

Now the question is, in the result of a clog, how would one know to contact the warranty repair for outside only first or address the clog from the interior first?

They come out and scope the line I assume for free?

Theres gotta be a hangup somewhere... I know the plan can be canceled at any time, no obligation of course. So does that mean people can signup, have them out and get a free scope of the line and then cancel when the camera says its free and clear?
 
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Old 05-06-14, 11:53 AM
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My opinion thats pretty good at $10 a month... Would I get it? Probably..

Water service leaks are often from old piping and heavy traffic down busy streets... So to ask what pipe material do you have for your water line? Sounds like it may be galvanized.

Next what sewer material do you have for your sewer? Probably cast iron. At a minimum I would get a video inspection of the line... Any root infiltration or belly's in the pipe then insurance is a must..

Price in NJ is dependent on slab, basement, or crawl. Plus depth of service..

Typically run about 5K a piece...
 
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Old 05-06-14, 02:31 PM
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Think about how the insurance companies operate. They are betting that nothing will ever happen to the majority, of the sewers. If they think that it's a good bet, why don't you?

Here's what I would do. Ask them to send you the contract/policy so that you can read it. If they give you reasons as to why that can't be done, then forget about it. I've done that already. As soon as they started to stutter, I knew what to do.
 
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Old 05-06-14, 04:34 PM
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I think the key is how they determine what warrants a drain cleaning versus a "repair".
 
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Old 05-16-14, 02:13 PM
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I signed up. But now I see the catch. Wanted your opinion.

The first line of small print says "The Plan covers repair or replacement of a leaking or broken single unground sewer line..."

No mention of clog. I called and they said clogs are not covered. Thinking about roots, I asked and they said if a root breaks a pipe then it is covered, however, if a root "Inflilitrates at the point two pipes meet" then it is not covered... suggesting that root infiltration at the hubs would not be covered?

In other words, pipe needs to be busted. Camera is sent down, diagnosed at no charge but if the pipe aint busted they will quote you a repair cost....

With that said.... what do you think?
 
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Old 05-16-14, 02:20 PM
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Sounds pretty fair to me...

You are paying (insurance basically) for repair of a broken or damaged pipe, not normal maintenance.

Just like car insurance...they pay for body damage, but you still need to wash and wax it yourself.

I wonder how it would work if Mr Rooter man broke a pipe while clearing a clog?
 
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Old 05-16-14, 02:23 PM
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How does tree root infiltration usually occur? Breaks in the pipe or at the hubs as they are suggesting that they don't cover?

Keep in mind we are talking about 60 year old cast sewer here (at least that's what I think I have, I don't have x-ray vision) For all I know the sewer was replaced by a previous owner (not with my luck though).

Also say I have a nasty clog that I cant clear inside the home... what method do I take here? Call a plumber, have him diagnosis it and then call the warranty people or vice a versa?

I signed up. But now I see the catch. Wanted your opinion.

The first line of small print says "The Plan covers repair or replacement of a leaking or broken single unground sewer line..."

No mention of clog. I called and they said clogs are not covered. Thinking about roots, I asked and they said if a root breaks a pipe then it is covered, however, if a root "Inflilitrates at the point two pipes meet" then it is not covered... suggesting that root infiltration at the hubs would not be covered?

In other words, pipe needs to be busted. Camera is sent down, diagnosed at no charge but if the pipe aint busted they will quote you a repair cost....

With that said.... what do you think?
 

Last edited by zmike; 05-16-14 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 05-16-14, 03:03 PM
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At the hub, unless of course the pipe is damaged somehow. Using stuff like Root Rid(?) will help keep root issues to a minimum.

It's pretty clear that a clog isn't covered unless caused by a damaged pipe which IMO is kind of unlikely. If a pipe is damaged, you'll normally have smells, depressions, and wet ground, not just a clog.

I'm surprised there's not some sort of charge for scoping the pipe if it turns out not to be covered.

You might want to find out the policy on that?
 
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Old 05-16-14, 03:03 PM
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I guess that you didn't read the second paragraph, in my post on 5/6/14 (post #9).
 
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Old 05-16-14, 03:35 PM
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I guess that you didn't read the second paragraph, in my post on 5/6/14 (post #9)
Indeed I read it, just trying to figure out if what I am describing now is the stuttering your referring too.
 
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Old 05-16-14, 05:34 PM
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"Stuttering" is a nice way to put it. I'm sure that you have a magnifying glass somewhere. Try to find the cancel clause.
 
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Old 05-17-14, 04:18 AM
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cancelling isn't an issue, no problem doing so. But I am just concerned about my old sewar... do you think after what I describe it is no longer worth the money each month?

ie the leaking or broken no clog issue.... how the heck would one know if there was a leak in a sewer pipe leaching into the ground?
 
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Old 05-17-14, 06:30 AM
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The fact that they have various reasons as to why they won't pay, leaves you without some of the insurance, that you thought you bought. If they didn't have those clauses in the policy, then it would be worth it. Call the Dept of Consumer Affairs, in your neighborhood. Ask if they have any complaints against them. The same for the BBB. The root thing happened to my sister & her husband. I'll ask her how much they paid & when it happened.

To Buy or Not to Buy
 
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Old 05-17-14, 06:50 PM
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I still think the insurance is worthwhile. As Vic eloquently stated, it's insurance for a broken sewer pipe, not for clogs, roots, etc. Either way, you're rolling the dice. Most sewer (and water mains) will never have an issue, but when they do, it's not cheap.

I've run into both issues now with two houses. A leak in the water line set me back $800, and was almost more when the plumber thought he'd have to bring in his backhoe. Now I'm dealing with a broken sewer lateral... looking like $6-7K. I wish I had that insurance policy!
 
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Old 05-17-14, 07:13 PM
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I once worked as a day worker & I've hired day workers when I had my own jobs. We could dig 8' down, in 4 hours. We never used a back hoe. There is no reason to pay $6,000 to fix a sewer line.
 
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Old 05-18-14, 04:10 AM
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Im still confused about the roots... how does infiltration of roots NOT constitute broken? That suggests root infiltration is normal?

I called the city and asked what permits had been taken out on my property in the past and there was nothing for sewer work... I assume if someone replaced the sewer at some point, that's would most certainely be a permitted job since they are tapping into the city system. So all I can do is assume the sewer is as old as the house.
 
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Old 05-18-14, 06:53 AM
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That's the problem with a warranty. Defining what constitutes broken? Older systems were not technically sealed with one pipe section shoved into the next which leaves the opportunity for tiny roots to get in... which eventually grow and break or push the pipe sections apart. A big gray area and unfortunately a common way in which drain pipes can "fail". For me it's a reason to dig and replace with glued PVC but I'm sure the insurance policy would see things differently.

Whether or not permits were taken can only be used as very rough guide at least in my area. The further back you go the more crude and nonexistent records become. There are even areas where building, plumbing and electrical permits are not required at all.
 
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Old 05-18-14, 08:04 AM
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I remember when things were guaranteed not warranteed. A guarantee covered everything. Somehow the word warranty crept in to our vocabulary unnoticed & accepted. Of course roots break a pipe. Is the company is only covering rot from rust?. As long as the waste water is flowing, I wouldn't know where it goes or even care.

zmike: Do you have a lot of trees within 10 feet of the sewer line?

Edit: I just heard from my sister. In 2001, she paid $3,500 to replace the sewer pipe from the street to the house due to root damage.
 

Last edited by Pulpo; 05-18-14 at 08:29 AM.
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